Monday, December 24, 2012


It is that time of the year that we are often caught up in the hustle and bustle of the season.  Let's make sure we take some time this season to reflect what this season is truly about.

"For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him will not perish and have eternal life."        John 3:16


Saturday, December 22, 2012


"The longer I live, the more I realize the impact of attitude on life.  Attitude to me is more important than facts.  It is more important than the past, than education, than money, than circumstances, than failures, than success, than what other people think or say or do.  It is more important than appearance, gift, or skill.  It will make or break a company...a church...a home.  The remarkable thing is we have a choice every day regarding the attitude we will embrace for that day.  We cannot change our past...we cannot change the fact that people will act in a certain way.  We cannot change the inevitable.  The only thing we can do is play on the string we have, and that is our attitude.  I am convinced that life is 10 percent what happens to me and 90 percent how I react to it.  And so it is with you...we are in charge of our attitudes."  
                                             --- Charles Swindoll

Saturday, December 15, 2012


In a few of my past posts, I have mentioned that my husband and I have been without our four legged bird hunting companion for quite some time now.  The wait is over.  Over the past couple of months we have been reaching out to friends and acquaintences in hopes of finding our new hunting partner.  With patience and persistence, we were blessed enough to connect with the right people, and we now have our sweet little girl Kate.  

The adventure now begins.  Everyday there is something new.  Teaching.  Training.  Bonding.  Nothing quite compares with the growing relationship between a new pup and their introduction into their new family.  With my husband having already trained two prior labrador retreivers for bird hunting, this will be my first.  We are both very excited about our new family member.  These past few weeks, she has quickly developed, is changing everyday, and is learning so fast.  We both have a lot of work ahead of us, but hard work always pays off.
The day we picked up "Kate", 51 days old.

Oh the eyes...

Our little desert dog

The big world awaits
Proud new dad
Kate's first ruffed grouse hunt

There are those eyes again

Girls day in the snow

Kate at 11 weeks
One of her favorite spots in front of the heat vent.

"A dog is the only thing on earth that loves you more than he loves himself."
-- Josh Billings

Friday, December 7, 2012


Swimming across the John Day River in the lower 40 degree water armed only in low cut socks, t-shirt, bra, and underwear, and while trying to maintain some sort of normal breathing pattern before hypothermia and/or hyperventilation set in, all I kept thinking to myself was...who does this?  Well, apparently that day, I did while retrieving the rooster pheasant we had just shot.  Being November, the only thing that was warm, was my husband waiting for me on the bank of the river.  Being without our bird dog hunting companion for well over a year now, we've run into some situations that have required some creative thinking on our part.  Today, I will chalk it up to just plain crazy behavior.

My husband and I had headed east in search of new bird hunting country along the John Day River.  We had already made the decision that if we downed a bird over the water (and wasting game is not an option), one of us was swimming for it.  Well, on our way back to the truck from a short walk with daylight quickly disappearing, I just happened to spook a rooster pheasant from the brush.  Within seconds, the bird went from bursting out of its hiding spot to landing 40 yards across the river and being carried downstream.  The river having a slow current where we were, my husband quickly headed back to get the truck.  I however, decided I had better go get our feathered friend before it got too dark or carried down the river too far.  I now have a whole new appreciation for our four legged  furry friends. 

I am not quite sure what got into me that day but as crazy as it was, I would probably do it again.  Now if you're planning on bird hunting, I would probably advise against using this type of retreival method if possible!  I will let you know however, fetching the rooster like that made it the best tasting rooster I've ever had.

After landing yourself a nice game bird, this recipe is one of my favorite. 


In a 6-quart Dutch oven or stockpot, melt butter over medium heat.  Add onion and garlic.  Cook for 2 to 3 minutes, or until onion is tender, stirring frequently.  In 4-cup measure, combine flour, salt, and pepper.  Blend in 2 cups of broth.  Stir into onion mixture.  Add remaining 2 cups broth and remaining ingredients, except half-and-half and sherry.  Bring to a boil over medium-high heat.  Reduce heat to low.  Simmer for 30 to 35 minutes, or until carrots are tender.  Stir in half-and-half and sherry.  Simmer for 10 to 15 minutes longer, or until flavors are blended.  Remove and discard bay leaf before serving.

Serves 8

Per serving:
Calories:  222
Protein:  16 g
Carbs:  18 g
Fat:  9 g
Cholesterol:  54 mg
Sodium:  700 mg

Preparing Fish & Wild Game, Creative Publishing International, Copyright 2000

"It is hard to fail, but it is worse never to have tried to succeed."
-- Theodore Roosevelt

Sunday, November 18, 2012


Even though the cold weather has moved in, it doesn't discourage my husband and I from hitting the outdoors.  Several years ago we bought an enclosed trailer and made it our home on the road.  Affectionately known as the "Redneck Toy Hauler" or the "Silverbox", we made some modifications so we can enjoy it anytime of the year and stay very cozy.  My husband and I have a moto, "less is more".  Keeping things on the light and simple side enables us to have the advantage of going almost anywhere we want to without the burden of being bogged down with unnecessary gear and equipment.

"The Silverbox".  A 6' x 12' extra tall Cargo Mate enclosed utility trailer.

Knowing that we were going to use the trailer year round, it was important for us to add insulation for better temperature regulation.  First step was to remove the wood wall panels.

 One of the side walls with the wood paneling removed.  To help seal out both cold and dust, we laid a hefty layer of caulking at the floor base and where the sheet metal wall pieces join.

We used a 1" hard foam core insulation for the walls and ceiling.

Nose of the trailer with the insulation installed.

Wall with insulation installed.

For insulating the curves near the ceiling, we used a bubble wrap type insulation that is covered with a foil-like material and attached it with Gorilla tape.

Wood panels reinstalled after installing the insulation.

The ceiling, like the walls, received the 1" hard foam core insulation.

The tailgate was also insulated.

Rod holders were installed.

A friend of ours built aluminum side rails for the walls.  Another friend of ours powdercoated them.  
The holes along the length of it makes it easy for tying down cargo.  The rails also support the three crossbeams that support the elevated bed.

We attached the rails by screwing them into the metal frame behind the plywood wall.

Both rails installed.

After one long ride down a gravel road, the front of the trailer took quite a beating from rocks being thrown from the car tires.  We later took the trailer down to Line-X and had them coat most of the front.  It works perfectly.

In the nose of the trailer, we've set up a small living/kitchen area.

With the stylish plastic cabinet, the sleek black Coleman two burner propane stove powered by the five gallon propane tank, and the snappy wood finish countertop...what woman wouldn't be proud of this kitchen?

The plastic unit with large drawers not only provides a lot of storage, but also can be moved easily anywhere in the trailer.

The rod holder doubles as a drying rack for our dish towels.

The elevated bed is very similar in size to a king sized bed.  In addition to the insulated walls, we sometimes use Mr. Heater (never while sleeping), a portable propane heater that is safe to use indoors.  During elk season, we experienced temperatures in the single digits.  Although the door handle and the wall screws were frosted over on the inside of the trailer, we remained very cozy while sleeping.

The layers of the bed not only make it extremely comfortable, it is also a great way to stay warmer.  Being insulated underneath you is just as important as being insulated on top.  The green pad on the bottom is an REI 3.5" self-inflating pad, above that are two pieces of 2' x 6' x 3" foam padding nestled in a duvet cover, and on top is our 30 degree double sleeping bag.  If it is really cold, we top the sleeping bags with fleece blankets.

Our 3.5" REI self-inflatable bed pads are each 78" long, 29" wide, 3.5" thick, weigh 6.7 pounds, and have an R-value of 7.0.  "The "R-value" is how the insulation is measured according to its capacity to resist heat flow.  The higher the R-value, the better you can expect it to insulate you from cold surfaces.",

Because the bed is elevated, we are able to use the trailer for many functions. 
With a clean tarp thrown over the bedding, we are able to store our 9' inflatable pontoon boats.  One on top and one on the bottom.  

When the three support pieces and the two plywood pieces of the bed are removed, we are able to load our motorcycles.  Perfectly fitting vertical, the REI pads tuck nicely under the wall railings while travelling, and the sleeping bag fits in a large duffel bag.  With this configuration, we sleep on the floor. 

The three aluminum cross supports are secured with bolts and wing nuts, yet are easy to remove.  
The portable propane heater, Mr. Heater, is seen here on the right.

The holes that are the full length of the wall railing make it easy to attach tie downs and bungee cords.  At each corner we usually have a five gallon container of fuel.

We textured the floor and the tailgate with a product that we found at Home Depot.  
It is a deck coating similar to a spray in bed liner.

"Camping:  nature's way of promoting the motel industry."  
-- Dave Barry

Sunday, November 11, 2012


So you've shot yourself a game bird.  Now what?
Here are step by step instructions on how to clean a typical game bird.

If you plan on getting into bird hunting, this is an excellent, must-have tool.  
This kit from Kershaw Knives contains game shears and a very sharp knife.

The knife, scissors, and carrying case.  
The scissors have a special notch near the hinge to easily cut through bone.  They also disassemble for easy cleaning.

Shown here is a ruffed grouse, a forest bird that we often hunt for.

Using the notch in your game shears, hold one of the legs and cut just above the knee joint.

Repeat on the second leg.

Position the bird on its back.

Grab one of the wings and again using the notch in your game shears, cut the wing off at the 'shoulder' joint.

Repeat on the other wing.

With the bird still on its back, hold the body of the bird in one hand and with the other hand, carefully grab and pull out some of the breast feathers.

After pulling some of the breast feathers, you should be able to see the skin that the feathers were attached to.  When you see this, gently tear the skin to expose the breast meat.

Continue peeling the skin with the feathers attached.

Removing skin and feathers from the neck.

Trim up some of the feathers on the head.

Cut the airway.  Do not cut off the neck and head.

Cut off the tail feathers at the base.

With the spine facing up, using the tip of your shears, insert them on the right side of the spine.

Carefully cut upwards along the spine and stop just below the base of the neck.

Repeat on the other side of the spine.

After making the two cuts up the spine, cut the spine out using a crosscut.

Using the tips of your shears, scrape out the innards.

Finish by rinsing the bird with fresh water.

After the bird is clean, we store the bird in a gallon sized Ziploc bag and place it in the cooler.

As with most states, Oregon law requires that the head is left attached for proper identification.

Here is the link to Kershaw Knives:

"There is a passion for hunting something deeply implanted in the human breast."  -- Charles Dickens